Suicide. A terrible tragedy with huge ripple effects. And it’s happening with more and more frequency, especially among teens and young adults. No community or socioeconomic group is immune. When someone takes their life, family and friends are left with more than their grief and sorrow, anger and shock. They’re also left with many unanswered questions and unresolved grief.
“Why?” is a big one. Often no letter of explanation is found to offer any comfort. No one will ever know this side of heaven what caused the person to take their life.
Another very complicated question is, “What will happen to their eternal soul? Did this person go to heaven or not?”
Where are answers to be found for Christians asking these difficult questions?
I’m afraid there are no clear-cut answers. I’m so sorry. Ask 10 people and you will most likely get 10 different answers, Protestant, Catholic, or Orthodox. Only God knows for sure. We must leave it up to him, trusting that he is fair and just, compassionate and kind. We also cannot understand the impact of the deep, overwhelming darkness of those who suffer with mental illness, which is often a complicating factor. And what about when someone’s judgement is impaired by drugs or alcohol? What then?
What does the Bible say? That’s what really counts. Therefore, I want to direct you to a helpful book that deals very well with this topic and is highly recommended by a counselor friend who specializes in this area (suicide). She also has personal experience with this – her husband died by suicide.
When You Lose Someone You Love, by Richard Crome, D.D., Ph.D. My friend found it to give an excellent explanation for the questions we’re asking. Chapter 12 deals specifically with suicide.
Four other great books that will help with understanding and processing a suicide are:
Finding Your Way After the Suicide of Someone You Love, by Biebel and Foster
Night Falls Fast, by Kay Redfield Jamison; an in depth book to help understand the suicidal mind, to recognize and come to the aid of those at risk, and to comprehend the profound effects on those left behind. It is critical reading for parents, educators, and anyone wanting to understand this tragic epidemic.
May God uphold and comfort you if you’re dealing with the suicide of someone you loved and cared about. It’s an incredibly painful path to walk. But comfort is real and help is always available.
If you have no one to call, or if you know someone you think is considering taking their lives, please call this toll free number. It’s the Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-TALK (8255). You can call 365 days of the year 24/7. Someone is always there to help.
A comforting Bible verse is:
“O Lord, hear my prayer, listen to my cry for mercy; in your faithfulness and righteousness come to my relief.” (Psalm 143:1)
May He do this for you today. Amen.